He would swear things were different, that he was going to change…

We met in high school and later on a dating site. At first, things were really good. He was very loving and kind. He was so great and we were just having fun together. We could not leave each other’s side. I wouldn’t see my family for days because I was so intoxicated by him and couldn’t imagine leaving.

It changed pretty quickly. He would tell me that we were going break up and I needed to pack my things and leave but would stop me as I was close to finishing getting my things. He would fall down and cry about how confused he was, hug me, kiss me and I just thought that he was going through something that I didn’t know about. He eventually distanced me from my friends by making me feel guilty that I had friends. He only spent time with his cousin and me so, of course, me being sensitive, I stay in one night. Then another and another until my friends eventually stop trying to get me to go out.

A few weeks go by and he suddenly says, “I’m pretty sure you’re pregnant.” I was in shock. I asked him what he was talking about and he told me that he didn’t wear a condom during intercourse. I took 3 tests that were negative and the 4th was a positive. I was terrified but a part of me was excited because this was finally a reason for our lives to change! They did. Drastically. He started drinking, staying out late, and getting high with his cousin and some guys he knew. He would frequently accuse me of cheating, saying that the baby wasn’t his. We eventually moved in with his parents, about an hour and thirty minutes away from my parents, where he swears he is going to start working, and I don’t have to worry about working.

I’m about 14 weeks pregnant by this point and he’s different now. He seems like he’s becoming the person I fell in love with, until his parents give us a time limit of two months. He starts doing little things like slamming doors for no reason, pressing tooth picks into my arm until I bleed and cry out in pain, walking by, grabbing my hair and pulling my head back, keeping me away from my phone when I talked about calling my mom, yelling at me for bringing my phone to the bathroom. Eventually I can’t take it. I’m pregnant, dehydrated because I couldn’t keep anything down and exhausted.

My mom comes to get me and I’m just done. We get home and I’m unpacking when I hear a knock at my door, it’s him. He’s swearing that he’s going to change, he’s going to get serious, it’s going to work out and begs me to go back with him so I do because I love him and I know he’s really going to change. We try again at his parents house and it’s okay at first. He gets a small job, saving a little. He comes home one night furious for some reason, I can’t even remember, and he is yelling at me and getting in my face and out of instinct, I slap him across the face and see pure rage flash in his eyes, so I run as fast as I could to the bathroom and lock the door. He’s pounding and kicking and then just stops and sobs. He’s saying he’s so sorry for making me do that to him. I’m already calling my dad. He drives to me and I’m waiting in the bathroom until he gets there or his parents get there. His parents get there first and I’m begging his dad through the door to get him away from me so I can get my things together and so he does.

I get my things and my dad picks me up. We get home and it’s exactly 12:00 on New Years and I vow that IT IS OVER. I keep that vow for about a month and a half when he calls me to tell me about his new job and how much is different. I don’t give in to him right away. We go out to dinner a few nights, and he’s so much like how I remember him from the beginning. I think that maybe it just took a little bit of time apart for him to see how much we belong together. He’s wonderful for the majority of my pregnancy until it’s time for me to give birth. On the way to the hospital, he is suddenly very annoyed over some small thing and is making a huge scene. It was over my mom’s choice of music I think. He felt left out because we were singing and he didn’t know the song. Anyway, I had to deal with a baby. Moving on to after having my baby, he is fine, not super irritable.

A week after the birth, my mom invites us to live in her spare room so that she could help with the baby. He worked at a local restaurant by this time. He would stay up late hours in the night playing video games while I slept. I would be so exhausted from being a new mom and not sleeping well that most nights when he got off of work, I’d be asleep in bed. One night I was asleep, he woke me up, grabbed me by my hair, pulled me up and said, “I expect to be kissed when I walk through the door.” He pulled my head back and forced me to kiss him. I was stunned. I waited for him to get home every night after that. Most nights he would want to have sex and I would say no, I’m too tired, I just want to go to bed. When I fell asleep, I would be woken up to him having sex with me.

We fought about him wanting to call into work even though we needed the money and he threw a coin at me, with my newborn baby in my arms, so hard that it chipped the paint on the wall just inches from my head. My final straw was him playing a song on his guitar singing a song about how a dog was more faithful than me. After those words left his mouth it was as if somebody poured ice cold water all over me. Every single thing slammed into me. His charming attitude when we met and when he wanted me back. His name calling, little pushes, hair pulling, bite marks, name calling, degrading, losing my friends, the pregnancy, everything. It was like a movie playing in my head.

All that time, I felt like I was sincerely going to help him be the person that I knew he could be. After it all, I felt defeated, lost, scared, and alone. Today, I am still scared. Not of him, but of falling back into a situation similar or possibly more dangerous. I’m still recovering. While my abuse was not as severe as most, it is more than I ever want to experience. I can only hope to see the signs more clearly and prevent it from happening again.

To anyone experiencing abuse… Don’t let love cloud your judgement. I will say today and forever that I sincerely loved him. Only, I loved the fake side of him – the side he showed me when he felt me slipping away, the part of him that I wanted him to be with all of my soul. Be safe and be strong.

Francis D.

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